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Injection and transport properties of fast electrons in ultraintense laser-solid interactions

Coury, M. and Carroll, D. C. and Robinson, A. P. L. and Yuan, X. H. and Brenner, C. M. and Burza, M. and Gray, R. J. and Lancaster, K. L. and Li, Y. T. and Lin, X. X. and MacLellan, D. A. and Powell, H. and Quinn, M. N. and Tresca, O. and Wahlstrom, C. -G. and Neely, D. and McKenna, P. (2013) Injection and transport properties of fast electrons in ultraintense laser-solid interactions. Physics of Plasmas, 20 (4). ISSN 1070-664X

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    Fast electron injection and transport in solid foils irradiated by sub-picosecond-duration laser pulses with peak intensity equal to 4 x 10(20)W/cm(2) is investigated experimentally and via 3D simulations. The simulations are performed using a hybrid-particle-in-cell (PIC) code for a range of fast electron beam injection conditions, with and without inclusion of self-generated resistive magnetic fields. The resulting fast electron beam transport properties are used in rear-surface plasma expansion calculations to compare with measurements of proton acceleration, as a function of target thickness. An injection half-angle of similar to 50 degrees - 70 degrees is inferred, which is significantly larger than that derived from previous experiments under similar conditions.